The rural organisation that gets up to 120,000 online hits per post
As the world moves more and more towards online communication, Macra makes
Macra na Feirme, the Irish rural youth organisation, with almost 11,000 likes on Facebook, can now claim to be an online influencer, thanks to their successful use of social media.
This is evident from Macra doubling their number of followers on Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2015. Figures obtained by the Irish Examiner indicate that Macra na Feirme can get up to 120,000 online hits for some of their online posts, when they have streamed events on their Facebook page. That’s about how many people Pope Francis spoke to at the open air Mass in the Phoenix Park — and represents an impressive communication reach for an Irish rural organisation, in a world moving more and more towards online communication.
Macra’s online efforts are recognised with a win in the best targeted campaign category in the recently announced 2018 Guild of Agricultural Journalists Awards, for Macra PR Manager Joe Coffey for the Macra Farm Safety Campaign which highlighted the dangers of working on the land and promoted safeguards to address this vital issue.
Other streamed Macra events attracting big audiences include ‘Tractor Karaoke’ at the National Ploughing Championships, and Market Sustainability for Young Farmers in a Post-brexit Ireland and Enjoying a Healthy Work-life Balance in Agriculture panel discussions at their recent annual conference.
Macra’s stand was a hive of activity at the Ploughing last September, with the primary attraction being ‘Tractor Karaoke. If it works for TV host James Corden on the streets of Los Angeles, there is no reason it won’t work for Macra in the fields of Co Offaly.
Corden’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ features famous musicians singing along to their songs with him while he drives around the streets of Los Angeles, and has included stars such as Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Mccartney and, recently, Barbra Streisand.
In Tractor Karaoke last Septhei tember, popular Co Monaghan singer-songwriter Marty Mone provided us with a rendition of his ‘Hit The Diff’, with enthusiastic help from Macra Training and Development Officer Jennifer Arthur at the Ploughing.
Other notable 2018 Tractor Karaoke performances included members of Kerry Macra with a charming version of ‘Baby Shark’, while North-west Vice President Sharon Corcoran gave an impressive rendition of Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’.
It was Brian Mccarthy of Ballinascarthy Macra in West Cork who suggested ‘Tractor Karaoke’ to National President James Healy as an activity for the Macra stand at the Ploughing last year.
His idea was subsequently discussed among Macra leaders and staff.
“We thought it might get a bit of attention, but certainly didn’t think it would go down anywhere nearly as positively as it has,” said National President James Healy.
“I think it has gained some fantastic publicity for us, and creates a very positive and lively vibe around the Ploughing tent for the three days.” Speaking to the Irish Examiner at the Macra na Feirme National Conference, PR Manager Joe Coffey explained how targeted social media campaigns have increased the number of followers on their social media platforms. “From a social media perspective, some of the most popular videos you are talking about got over 100,000 views, for one of them in particular, and several thousand views for other videos.
“Our Facebook followers gained a significant amount during that period [the Ploughing].
“We have ran a few campaigns over the last few years. We had a farm safety campaign two years ago, that would have given us a fair boost in terms of our social media followers and then we had this [Tractor Karaoke] which also gave us a significant boost.
“In the last 30 months, we have doubled the number of our Facebook followers. We were at about 5,000, and now we are up to almost 11,000 followers.”
Feedback regarding ‘Tractor Karaoke’ has been positive from Macra members, who have suggested other novel activities for the Macra stand at the Ploughing Championships in the future.
“I think in general, positive. Nobody has said anything negative to me. Lots of people have thrown new ideas at us with different twists, but I think, all very positive, people looking for an opportunity to do it and asking are we doing it next year?
And Macra president James Healy said, “I think it is certainly something that could be built on, and certainly something to be continued”.
Their Facebook page initiative to highlight the importance of farm safety two years ago made headlines at the time. On December 22, 2016, private messages were posted on their Facebook page, thereby making it appear that account had been hacked. These messages told the tale of a dramatic love triangle which included a Macra dance, bales of hay, a Nathan Carter CD, and a “nice shirt”. Social media became alive to the shenanigans of what was being posted on their Facebook page as the evening progressed.
This in turn led to articles online with the following headlines: “Someone has taken over the Macra na Feirme Facebook page tonight, and it’s gas.” “Someone has taken over the Macra Facebook page. and published an Irish love story for the ages.”
The following day, on December 23, 2016, PR manager Joe Coffey clarified everyextremely
“We thought it might get a bit of attention, but certainly didn’t think it would go down anywhere nearly as positively as it has. I think it has gained some fantastic publicity for us, and creates a very positive and ” lively vibe around the Ploughing tent
From left, Ciara Leahy, Chair, Guild of Agricultural Journalists; Derrie Dillon, Denis Duggan, Brigid Quigley, Joe Coffey, James Healy, all Macra na Feirme; and Zoe Kavanagh, Chief Executive, NDC, and chair of the judging panel, at the 2018 Guild of Agricultural Journalism Award presentation in the Targeted Communications category to Joe Coffey, Macra.